Winter is the season for festivities and fun! It also brings with it the cold and flu season - the lack of sunlight and the cold weather can have a huge impact on our mood, immune system and general health.
Getting plenty of sleep, reducing your stress levels, staying hydrated and exercising regularly are all really important factors to help stay healthy and happy through the cold winter months. But we all know this is easier said than done, especially with the cold and dark mornings and evenings, this can have a big impact on our mood and motivation!
There are a number of things we can do and supplements we can take to boost our immune system, improve our mood and help keep ourselves happy and healthy this winter:
Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, getting plenty of sleep and exercising regularly are all important to maintain a healthy, strong immune system. Additionally, herbal remedies such as Echinacea and Garlic can be really helpful in boosting your immune system.
Echinacea has long been known to help support and balance the immune system and provides anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. It can help prevent infections and also relieve cold and flu symptoms, as well as reduce the recovery time.
Vitamin C and Zinc are great supplements to take during the cold months to boost your immune system and prevent colds, flu and respiratory infections. Probiotics can also help strengthen your immune system.
If you struggle to get enough fruit and vegetables in your diet, try adding some superfoods to your meals or taking a superfood or multivitamin supplement to increase your intake of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Sometimes even a strong immune system can't always stop us from catching a cold or flu, as it is easily passed from sneezing, coughing and through contact with those infected. Washing your hands or using hand sanitiser can help but is often just unavoidable! If you feel yourself becoming ill, make sure you stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep - also limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake helps.
Vitamin C, Zinc, and herbs containing Echinacea and garlic can help to relieve symptoms and reduce the duration of the illness.
Another great supplement to try is Allicin Max which contains stabilised allicin, formed from garlic. Allicin is known as the 'mother' substance of garlic as it provides the key health-promoting properties which are used to support your body's natural defences and relieve cold and flu symptoms.
The cold weather can have a big impact on our circulation and blood flow, you'll usually find that your hands and feet will be the first places you feel the cold and this is because these are the furthest parts of the body away from your heart - so its a longer distance for your heart to pump blood and keep warm. Obviously, wearing gloves and thick socks will help with this, and exercising and moving around often will increase blood flow and circulation. In addition to this, there are supplements you can take to help improve circulation:
A small amount of stress is a normal part of daily life and can even be helpful when you need to focus on challenging situations, however too much stress can have a massive impact on our health and affect your immune system - making us more susceptible to colds and flu, as well as low mood and depression. Especially in winter, our Vitamin D levels are likely to drop with the lack of sunlight each day, so low mood and fatigue is much more common in the colder months.
Magnesium deficiency can be one cause of increased stress. Some studies have shown that decreased magnesium has been associated with increased adrenaline and cortisol levels, which are by-products of the 'flight or flight' response to stress and anxiety. Magnesium supplements can help to relax the body and provide a calming response, to ease anxiety and stress.
B vitamins can help with stress as they contribute to brain and nervous system function and provides a range of health benefits:
Stress often links closely with sleep as a lack of sleep can really affect your stress levels. Making sure you get plenty of sleep during the winter months will help to support your immune system and fight off colds and illnesses. Regular moderate exercise, limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol, and adopting a regular sleep pattern each night can all help improve your sleep quality.
There are also some supplements which help improve sleep quality and these include magnesium, which helps your body and muscles to relax and unwind, as well as Valerian which is a great sleep-enhancing supplement which provides a sedative effect and can help calm anxiety.
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles and we can get Vitamin D from sunlight exposure. Vitamin D deficiency can contribute to weak bones as well as low mood and depression, so during the winter months when there is a lack of sunlight during the day, a Vitamin D supplement has been recommended by the government to be taken each day.
It is recommended to take at least 10micrograms per day, and this can be in the form of tablets - alternatively we also sell a Vitamin D throat spray which is really convenient and you only need one spray per day.
Staying active is equally important in maintaining health and happiness, as sleep and stress. It may be hard to find the motivation to exercise especially when it is cold outside, but regular exercise will help support your health and wellbeing - and will also keep you warm! Remember to warm up properly before you exercise to avoid injury as it takes your muscles and joints longer warm up when it is cold.
Most adults need at least 2 litres of water per day to stay healthy and maintain good body function. Fatigue, low mood and illness can result from being dehydrated so it's really important to keep your hydration levels up! It's often harder during the winter season to drink enough water as your thirst decreases when it's cold. If you struggle with drinking water, try herbal teas - these will also to help keep you warm :)
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